Dinghy danger alert to visitors

Lifeboat crews were called to this dingy last weekend.
Lifeboat crews were called to this dingy last weekend.
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RESCUE crews warned people to avoid taking risks in the sea this Jubilee weekend.

HM Coastguard and lifeboat crews from Blackpool were called into action 26 times last Saturday as sunbathers were caught out in inflatable dinghies.

One man had to be rescued from the legs of North Pier when he got into difficulty, forcing lifesavers to urge residents and holidaymakers to stay safe.

The warning comes as The Gazette launched its Sea Safety campaign to encourage people to think about the dangers on our coastline following the death of Blackpool teenager David Sagar who fell from the seawall on March 30.

Rowland Darbyshire, operations manager at Blackpool Lifeboat Station, said: “Blackpool beach is a comfortable place to be, but the sea must also be treated with respect.

“Particular dangers arise when there’s an offshore wind and people on small inflatables and dinghies get blown out to sea.

“They have little understanding of how quickly this can happen and need to be aware of the dangers.”

Mr Darbyshire is also warning people to stay well away from the sea on an evening if they have been drinking alcohol.

He added: “Late at night, if people have had a few drinks, they underestimate the impact of the sea and can die very quickly.

“Be aware that drink can dull your judgement and my message would be to come to Blackpool, have a great time, but treat the sea with respect and don’t go out in inflatables if there’s an offshore wind.”

The Met Office forecasts the weather this weekend to be dry on Saturday, but showers on Sunday.

As the Bank Holiday weekend goes on, the temperature is expected to reach an average of 16 degrees, and the Coastguard is predicting thousands of people to visit the Fylde coast.

Steve Cross, watch officer at Liverpool Coastguard, is also urging people to take care this weekend after their land crews were tasked with finding children who had gone missing last weekend. He said: “The two main points when it comes to beach safety in Blackpool are to make sure that if you have children you know where they are at all times.

“If you are planning on using an inflatable dinghy you must tether it to the shore. If you can’t do that you shouldn’t be putting it in the water because its not worth the risk. They are too light and if you do go out, you won’t be able to paddle it back in.”

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